Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Works-for-Me Wednesday

Ahh, once a month cooking. It seems like such a good idea every time I think about it. It exhausts me every time I think about it! I have used some of the methods from the once a month cooking and made it quite a bit easier on myself. Here are some ideas to consider incorporating into your own meal plan if you're not quite ready to fill your freezer with 20 prepared meals in one day.

1. Pre-cook your meat. A lot of people buy 10 lbs of hamburger when it's on sale and portion it out. Why not cook it first? If you want to, you could just brown half for use in sauces and soups, and turn half into taco meat all in less than an hour! One pan to clean for that 10 lbs.

2. Plan for leftovers. By the same token, if I'm going to make a whole chicken, I make two (or three) and debone the second for later use in recipes that call for cooked chicken. Then I throw those chicken bones in my pasta pot make some homemade broth. (I use my pasta pot so I can lift the bones out of there!) A similar method works for roasts and hams.

3. Double your meal. If you're going to all the trouble to make one casserole, it's just as easy to make a second at the same time and freeze it before cooking. I like putting my extra meals in freezer bags. I freeze them flat, than organize them like records in my chest freezer. Don't forget to label- everything looks different when frozen!

When just the mention of once a month cooking makes me break out in a cold sweat, I pull out one of these ideas and get a little bit going. It works for me! Find out what others are trying at Works for me Wednesday.


  1. Awesome. Once a month cooking just sounds insane to me. I like cooking, and that kind of abuse would drive me to hate it faster than you can say "monkey's uncle."

  2. I'm okay with doing big freezer batches of things like chili and sauces, but I don't think I could stick to once a month cooking! We always plan for leftovers though, so we get more than one meal out of a recipe!
    And the slowcooker is my own personal hero. :)

  3. I do modified once-a-month cooking as well. I try to cook my meat before freezing and if I don't have time to cook the meat when I buy it, I freeze it and cook it later to refreeze. My favorite cookbook with once-a-month cooking recipes is "The Occasional Cook" by Cyndy Salzmann. She is from Omaha. My kids like most of the recipes in her book. I don't tend to freeze the meals like she says. Instead, I freeze the cooked meat and then can make whichever meal I feel like when the time comes. Some of the best recipes in the book: chili, egg casseroles, marinades, and soups. One other tip....if you buy meat that you plan to marinade, prepare the marinade and freeze it and the meat in a freezer bag. When the meat thaws, it will marinade at the same time.